The closure of Europe’s biggest Covid-19 field hospital in Madrid, Spain, has been marred today by controversy and a social distancing investigation

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Madrid’s Ifema emergency field hospital – the biggest in Europe – has closed its doors after 40 days caring for 4,000 Covid-19 patients amid controversy and an investigation into a possible violation of social distancing rules.

THE Government Delegation in Madrid has opened an inquiry into the official ceremony, which was televised by Telemadrid, sources told Europa Press.

According to several opposition spokespersons in the capital’s Assembly, the event, organised by the Community of Madrid, “did not respect the royal decree separation measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.”

It’s claimed there were “many people in a very small space and there were even hugs and handshakes.”

Sources told Efe the investigation aims to clarify whether those who attended the public event “kept the recommended safety distance to prevent the spread of Covid-19, among other things.”

The hospital closed today, after being open for 40 days to alleviate the pressure on healthcare during the pandemic.

President of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, presided over the official closure, which the opposition has since described as “a spectacle” and a publicity stunt.

She was booed by crowds angry at the “lack of respect” for public health and safety.

The spokesman for Más Madrid, Pablo Gómez Perpinyà, said she went “out of institutional commitment to thank the healthcare personnel” who worked there.

Upon arrival, Perpinyà claims he was met with about “one thousand people” and State of Alarm “distances and protocols” were not respected.

According to reports, Perpinyà remained on the outskirts of the site with health workers “who were protesting by asking for tests and defending public health.”

 

He said what happened is a “grotesque marketing campaign by the president” and a “lack of respect” for the people of Madrid who are confined to their homes, for the patients who are in the hospitals and for all the health personnel.

PSOE councillor Mar Espinar has said “what the PP and Citizens have done in Madrid is revolting.”

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Written by

Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.

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